Cristiano Ronaldo launched a stunning attack on his Real Madrid teammates following their 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid on Saturday, but new footage has revealed that an outburst might have been inevitable.
The Portuguese star told reporters after the game: “If they were all as good as me, we’d probably be top,” per Marca.
El Mundo has since reported that Ronaldo has issued an apology to his fellow Madrid players on WhatsApp.
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It was a costly loss for Zinedine Zidane’s team, and not just because they conceded bragging rights to their rivals.
The La Liga title now looks out of reach as Madrid fell 12 points behind leaders Barcelona.
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Ronaldo has never failed to hide his intense desire to succeed and his passion was on full show after Antoine Griezmann gave Atletico Madrid the lead in the second half.
Watch Cristiano's reaction to Griezmann's goal
The 31-year-old appeared physically sick as he stood with his hands on hips. The winger uttered a few words under his breath - likely words you wouldn’t want a youngster to hear - and his facial expression quickly turned to anger as he looked up at Atletico’s jubilant players.
Ronaldo defended his comments
Ronaldo defended his post-match comments by claiming he wasn’t referring to levels of performance, but physical ability instead.
“When I say that, I am talking about my fitness level, not my level as a player,” he said, per Marca. “I am no better than any of my teammates.”
Whether or not his teammates are ready to forgive him remains to be seen. But, given Ronaldo is the most important player in the team, it’s likely the winger’s quotes will go unchallenged.
Sergio Ramos was quick to defend the three-time Ballon d’Or winner. The defender was quoted by Goal as saying: “I don't think he wanted to attack any of his team-mates but perhaps he did not express his opinion in the best way.
“I know Cristiano very well and he perhaps did not express himself in the best manner."
That’s quite the understatement. Ronaldo should be seen as an inspiration inside the Madrid locker room but it’s probably hard to be inspired by a player who repeatedly flaunts his egotism.
Potentially trophy-less season
The Portugal international has scored 34 goals this season but hasn’t been able to prevent Barcelona from stealing a march in the race for the Spanish title.
He also has some catching up to do in the hunt for the Pichichi, the award given to La Liga’s highest goalscorer.
Ronaldo is three goals shy of Luis Suarez’s tally of 25 strikes and the Uruguayan is favourite to win the coveted gong, especially if he can keep up his terrific form.
The former Liverpool man has found the net 12 times in his last nine appearances in all competitions. In total for the season, Suarez has scored 41 goals.
So it looks set to be a trophy-less season for Ronaldo unless Los Blancos manage to win the Champions League.